Yosemite National Park

Bridalveil Fall - Yosemite National Park

This was my first visit to Yosemite.  Yes...I know, after living on this planet for 40 years...AND the fact that I live in California...AND given that I only live about 3 hours from Yosemite, I should be ashamed of myself.  But...its never too late and while the drive was long (with many, many breaks), it was well worth the drive.

The entire trip was planned out to be a day-trip.  The wifey had set this up with her group of friends to go hiking on this day and I opted to tag-along for the photographs.  Of course, we all picked a date when it happened to be 92 degrees with next-to-no breeze.  Good thing is that we packed a TON of water.  Their goal was to hike.  My goal was to drive from one "famous" spot to the next just so that I can take photographs.

When we arrived, I was awestruck.  Everything was so beautiful...from every angle, from every location.  After admiring the work of Ansel Adams for such a long time, trying to emulate some of those shots proved to be difficult...and yes, even after 80 years of photographic technological advances, nothing can be compared to Ansel Adam's work!!

So off goes the hikers and off goes me...with my 11 year old daughter in tow.  She didn't want to hike as she wanted to be accompanied by the luxury of air-conditioning provided by the trusty 2007 Honda Odyssey.  As I moved from one spot to another, photographing in each spot as we went along, I found Bridalveil Falls. Something about Bridalveil Falls that I admired so much.  The waterfall wasn't a "hard" fall.  Most of the water was so wispy and it was literally carried away by the random gusts of wind. The way it fell was so elegant...and on many occasions today, some of the water never made it to the fall floor.

Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park

So I setup camp...took out a very used and aged Manfrotto tripod and setup my camera.  My workhorse and my one true camera-love is the Canon 1DX.  Sure, its a pretty penny but it sure is worth it.  The lens was my EF 17-40mm f/4.0L USM.  I set my camera up at ISO 100 with a 25mm focal length.  I *should* have set it closer to 40mm...but I was so excited that I just wanted to take that shot.

You see...by practice, I am used to taking photos of high precision human machines running at full speed doing all sorts of extremely athletic movements that requires quick thinking on my part.  I totally forgot that the mountains do not move...well, not at the rate of a human athlete!  Landscape photography was still new in my brain...and it didn't quite adjust from sports to landscape at the time.

But once I clicked and saw that preview on the screen, I knew I got it!  Then I thought...what if I did a panoramic shot and stitched them together in post production??  I've only toyed with the idea of panoramic recently and so I decided...why not!  Keeping virtually the same photographic setup, I took 9 photos vertically, while overlapping each photo by about 30%.  Is it overkill that I took 9 photos?  Probably....but hey, I was excited!!

The top photo is the end result!!

As you can tell from the map, Bridalveil Fall is located in the center of the map.  The red dot is where I had positioned myself, right up against the edge of the creek near parallel to Northside Drive.

Untitled photo
Yosemite National Park

After taking the photo, I moved onto the next landmark and took photos there...and yes, my daughter even used my old Canon S90 to take some photos of her own!  Hours later, we all met up somehow...under Bridalveil Fall.  I say "somehow" because phone reception is near nonexistent and even handheld radios (which we had) were limited due to so many trees that obstruct the signal.  Besides, it wasn't like we had a repeater we could use!

The shot on the left is Bridalveil Fall.  I was standing extremely near the falls, although not so near that it was above my head.  This area was completely surrounded by tourists.  Signs telling people not to climb on the boulders to get under the falls were plastered everywhere but people chose to ignore the signs and climbed in there anyway. 

This shot was handheld with my Canon 1DX and mounted to the body was my beloved 70-200mm f/2.8L lens.  I maxed out the zoom to 200mm using ISO 100.  The sun was blazing hot by this point and the only shade near the fall was the short trail that lead up to it.  I really wanted to get as close as possible because I wanted to get a photo of the 'veil' effect that makes this waterfall famous.  So, without having to having to climb or risk a limb, I found the flattest part of the trail so that my footing would remain steady as I raised the camera up past my shoulders.  I was careful not to lose my balance, as I tend to get disoriented looking though a dSLR when the camera is pointing straight up into the air.  

By 6pm, the park was slowly coming to a close.  People who had camps setup were already heading back there and people like us were packing up our gear and getting ready to head home.  We loaded up the trusty 2007 Honda Odyssey, grab some extra bottles of water, and hunkered down in our seats for the drive back home.    

Overall, a very fun "day trip"...left at 5am and returned home by midnight.  I can't wait till our next Yosemite trip...which will probably be a cookie cutter adventure, only I think we'll camp out next time.

Untitled photo

Questions?  Comments?  I'd love to hear from ya!

  • No Comments